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  1. #1
    Registered User Luffers's Avatar
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    Exercises for obese/overweight people.

    Hi folks

    I am a newly qualified PT, I am training my first paying client tomorrow, my area of expertise is muscle building but obviously this game is mostly about weight loss.

    The girl I am training tomorrow is obese, she doesn't have great flexibility and so I am wondering what exercises would be best suited to her?

    When I say obese I mean like 5ft and 200 pound.

    I guess I won't have to work her to hard before she gets out of breath so I was thinking along the lines of some squats using a stability ball up against a wall, maybe some kettle bell swings, if she is able?

    As you can see I'm a little bit stuck for idea's!

    Any suggestions?
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    the most important thing for an obese client is to make the training fun and to establish a habit of exercise.

    Also refer to a dietician for the nutrition component of her program.

    In terms of exercise programming, in general stay away from one legged movements initially. Use good judgement when doing bodyweight movements (pushups, bench dips)--these can cause injury if not careful. And also avoid any exercises that can potentially embarrass and humiliate the client.

    Good luck
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  3. #3
    Registered User Luffers's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rnaco View Post
    the most important thing for an obese client is to make the training fun and to establish a habit of exercise.

    Also refer to a dietician for the nutrition component of her program.

    In terms of exercise programming, in general stay away from one legged movements initially. Use good judgement when doing bodyweight movements (pushups, bench dips)--these can cause injury if not careful. And also avoid any exercises that can potentially embarrass and humiliate the client.

    Good luck
    Thanks for the tips man.


    What exercises would potentially embarrass?
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    Originally Posted by Luffers View Post
    Thanks for the tips man.


    What exercises would potentially embarrass?
    Agility drills, jumps of any kinds, sprints on the treadmill, balancing on ball. Honestly I've seen other trainers doing these things with obese clients.
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    Registered User kziwarrior's Avatar
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    Though I'm a huge fan of squats and other body-weight exercises these are all hard and potentially dangerous for obese clients. People forget that one of the reasons that obese people aren't flexible is because the body has purposely limited it's ROM to compensate for the increased forces placed on the joints. And the embarrassment factor is two-fold on all body-weight exercises for obese people. It's not only public embarrassment (others watching them) but their own ego as well.

    Personally I use machines (particularly cable based machines) almost exclusively for obese clients (at least starting out). I find a two-fold benefit here, first they can feel good about the high reps and time they can put in (as opposed to very few reps of any body-weight exercise). And second, if used properly this allows me to incorporate mild cardio across the routine (so I can have them in a cardio state for an hour or more). Cardio is more important to obese people than strength/muscle building. Remember that obese people are generally quite strong because to the weight they carry, you just need to shed the fat so that the strength can be better utilized.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Luffers's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kziwarrior View Post
    Though I'm a huge fan of squats and other body-weight exercises these are all hard and potentially dangerous for obese clients. People forget that one of the reasons that obese people aren't flexible is because the body has purposely limited it's ROM to compensate for the increased forces placed on the joints. And the embarrassment factor is two-fold on all body-weight exercises for obese people. It's not only public embarrassment (others watching them) but their own ego as well.

    Personally I use machines (particularly cable based machines) almost exclusively for obese clients (at least starting out). I find a two-fold benefit here, first they can feel good about the high reps and time they can put in (as opposed to very few reps of any body-weight exercise). And second, if used properly this allows me to incorporate mild cardio across the routine (so I can have them in a cardio state for an hour or more). Cardio is more important to obese people than strength/muscle building. Remember that obese people are generally quite strong because to the weight they carry, you just need to shed the fat so that the strength can be better utilized.
    Some good points there, cheers

    Could you give examples of cable exercises you would typically use?
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    Originally Posted by Luffers View Post
    Thanks for the tips man.


    What exercises would potentially embarrass?
    I also would not have obese client on the floor either as they will struggle to get up again making them embarrassed. Generally if they are that overweight then at the beginning just getting them moving and keeping them moving will be enough.
    You simply cannot out train bad nutrition.

    The gym is my place of work, keep the socialising for the playground you are here to work too.

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    People tend to really like this circuit because they can actually do it w/o much difficulty AND at the same time, it kicks their butt.

    A Smith machine is easier but a squat rack will do.

    Start w/the bar at about waist height and have them hold it as they squat down.

    Then have them push off against the bar like an push up. You can adjust the height depending on the clients strength.

    Then bring the bar up higher and have them pull themselves towards the bar. Again, you can adjust the height of the bar and the angle of the body depending on their abilities.

    Then finally, bring a short step or box and have them do alternating step ups for a minute.

    So you've got a full body workout w/a little cardio at the end.

    Hope that helps.
    I do snatch pulls in the gym so I can do snatch pulls in the bars. And I ALWAYS use a hook grip.


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    Originally Posted by Luffers View Post
    Hi folks

    I am a newly qualified PT, I am training my first paying client tomorrow, my area of expertise is muscle building but obviously this game is mostly about weight loss.

    The girl I am training tomorrow is obese, she doesn't have great flexibility and so I am wondering what exercises would be best suited to her?

    When I say obese I mean like 5ft and 200 pound.

    I guess I won't have to work her to hard before she gets out of breath so I was thinking along the lines of some squats using a stability ball up against a wall, maybe some kettle bell swings, if she is able?

    As you can see I'm a little bit stuck for idea's!

    Any suggestions?
    In case you didn't know lifting weights will help with weight loss because..............muscles burn fat. Her biggest problem is probably her diet. Start with a simple program for beginners at first and then gradually step it up. There is no need to have her gasping for air for every workout. If she sticks to a proper diet plan , she will see results fast. I'd say 30 t0 40lbs in 6 to 8 months.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by Luffers View Post
    Some good points there, cheers

    Could you give examples of cable exercises you would typically use?
    Sorry for the delay, didn't check my posts in a while. As for cable routines I use for obese clients starting out I stick with things that have good range of motion and can be done in a cardio type way (i.e. lots of reps at a good pace to keep the heart rate up).

    Seated rows are GREAT!!! stay away from rowing machines at the very beginning, you can add them after a few weeks when their cardio builds up a bit. Obese clients are one of the FEW that I will put on a leg-press machine, but it's good motion and will get their legs pumping. I personally don't use leg-extensions or leg-curls for several reasons though (PM me if you want more info). Lat pull-downs (again, I generally only use them for obese clients). I would also use standing cable curls and arm-extensions to get the arms going (keep them standing will start work on their core to stabilize them). For shoulders you can use dumbbells, but don't do the combo lunges, at least to start.

    Keep the weights low and the reps high (consider going by time instead of a physical count, like I said you can turn the whole session into a cardio routine!!!).

    As the poster above said, diet is a MAJOR part. Be sure they don't cut their calories to much/to fast and that they don't eliminate to much fat to start out with.

    As for cardio a stationary or recumbent bike are the best to start out. Don't be tempted to switch to treadmills to quickly. And personally I can't stand ellipticals (no rant). Hope this helps. Hit me up with any questions.
    Last edited by kziwarrior; 04-21-2009 at 07:32 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Basically, especially with the overweight/obese clients you want to keep them away from any high impact exercise initially because this can easily lead to acute injuries.

    Machines are useful... but try to phase them out if they lose weight. Bikes... especially intervals are fairly effective.

    NUTRITION is obviously the biggest thing though... you can do all the exercise you want but if they are still stuffing their faces.... they're not gonna lose any weight.
    No post is professional medical, nutrition or training info!

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  12. #12
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    Based on what you've said about her, I'd keep my workouts with her to mostly aerobic training (if I had to put it percentage wise, I'd say about 60% aerobic and 40% resistance training). Most trainers are different with the way they approach clients, especially obese clients, and although I don't think any of us are necessarily "wrong" with the answers given, I wouldn't keep the client solely on machines or not have her do squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises..(not to offend those who prefer that way)

    Personally, I'd do variations such as wall push-ups, squats with a bench behind her, and try to keep her on her feet most of the time. It's my assumption that if the individual is obese, then he/she has a sedentary lifestyle - and I'd make it my duty to incorporate exercises that help with her activities of daily living, throwing in some functional exercises in the process. So, bicep curls would be standing, overhead presses would be done standing, give her seated rows, instructing her how to squat properly (minus the stability ball), some basic machine exercises like lat pull downs, etc..


    If she's obese, the last thing I'd want her to do is sit down and do exercises for the entire session.
    Last edited by Rap_Rocky; 04-21-2009 at 12:23 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for the replys guys, you've given me much to think about.

    Cheers

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    Originally Posted by Rap_Rocky View Post
    Based on what you've said about her, I'd keep my workouts with her to mostly aerobic training (if I had to put it percentage wise, I'd say about 60% aerobic and 40% resistance training). Most trainers are different with the way they approach clients, especially obese clients, and although I don't think any of us are necessarily "wrong" with the answers given, I wouldn't keep the client solely on machines or not have her do squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises..(not to offend those who prefer that way)

    Personally, I'd do variations such as wall push-ups, squats with a bench behind her, and try to keep her on her feet most of the time. It's my assumption that if the individual is obese, then he/she has a sedentary lifestyle - and I'd make it my duty to incorporate exercises that help with her activities of daily living, throwing in some functional exercises in the process. So, bicep curls would be standing, overhead presses would be done standing, give her seated rows, instructing her how to squat properly (minus the stability ball), some basic machine exercises like lat pull downs, etc..


    If she's obese, the last thing I'd want her to do is sit down and do exercises for the entire session.
    good point.. There is no sitting in my workouts! [in regards to fat loss clients]
    I do snatch pulls in the gym so I can do snatch pulls in the bars. And I ALWAYS use a hook grip.


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    I personally want to thank everyone for their input on this thread. I've been training at Urban Active for 2 months now and I have a female client who is 5"6 and 295lbs. I have been looking for some gooD things for her, she has been good with her diet whichmeans she cares which makes me want to try even harder for her. Thanks again to all, once again proving how great of a site this is.
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    similar to what i posted on the other thread concerning overweight clients, i recommend very easy circuit training intervals. it can be bodyweight or not, however i prefer bodyweight exercises if the patient has no injuries (isn't too obese).

    also power walking / jogging with small weights in the hands to pump the blood all around.
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    Originally Posted by Fritz311 View Post
    I personally want to thank everyone for their input on this thread. I've been training at Urban Active for 2 months now and I have a female client who is 5"6 and 295lbs. I have been looking for some gooD things for her, she has been good with her diet whichmeans she cares which makes me want to try even harder for her. Thanks again to all, once again proving how great of a site this is.
    I'll second that, great advice from everyone, hopefully I may be able to offer you all some tips etc at some point.
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  18. #18
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    Your goal for an obese person is to try and make whatever you do FUN for the client, so that way the wanna keep coming back. What I did with overweight clients was usually to just break them in slowly doing very simple exercises like a standing wall squat, 5 lb bicep curls or the 20 lb barbell curl or any single joint movement at high reps. Use the machines for the most part. If you make it fun for them they will see exercise as fun and will more than likely wanna come back, if you make it hard on them they will lose interest immediately, as I am sure they are already wondering if they wanna put themselves through this on the first place.
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    Try combining exercises. For example
    You can have them sit up from a bench and while they are sitting, they can throw you a medicine ball, or raise it overhead or curl some dumbells.

    Another one people like is if you give them a light barbell, and go from a
    bent over row and then straight into a deadlift and then a reverse curl and then a shoulder press. As they progress, they'll be able to row and deadlift a heavier weight but the reverse curl will be hard. At this point you can substitute it w/a power clean.

    You can also do my modified version of a burpee.. Actually, it's closer to a squat thrust. Here are the steps

    1.Standing position

    2.crouch down and plant hands on the ground like you would in a burpee

    3. Stick one leg back and then the other to put you in a push up position

    4. Bring each leg back to the front and stand back up

    You can superset this with a more low paced resistance exercise. You can either do a certain number of reps or [which i find works better] you can go for time. You can shoot for a certain amount of reps for a fixed duration like 30 seconds and then have them try to increase their reps by one for each subsequent workout.
    I do snatch pulls in the gym so I can do snatch pulls in the bars. And I ALWAYS use a hook grip.


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  20. #20
    Registered User Maurean's Avatar
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    Question Maurean

    Hi ... I have been training a 50 yr old male for 4 months now. His goal is to gain approx 20 kgs muscle.

    He has recently purchased a protein mass builder, ZMA and creatine. He eats regularly throughout the day, including protein and complex carbs.

    To date, he has managed to gain 6 kgs.

    He trainis from Mon to Fri, whereby I change his program for every workout, mainly concentrating on pyramiding.

    His gains are extremely slow on his chest particularly.

    Please, if I could have some ideas on how to make progress with him

    Many thanks
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  21. #21
    Better Than Yesterday Fritz311's Avatar
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    i have been doing things like ball squats, step ups with a medium sized step and some various machines. I will try the bent over row, to deadlift, to reverse curl to shoulder press. That sounds like a very good one for any client.
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  22. #22
    Heartless Angel ZidaneValor's Avatar
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    Just remember that not all obese clients are the same. For obese clients that haven't trained before, then machines may be best because they are strength exercises with minimal chance of injury. However, even though I'm obese, I prefer powerlifting and free weight exercises that involve manhandling barbells and dumbbells. And if you bring a swiss ball or a bosu ball anywhere near me, I will launch it at your face, lol.
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  23. #23
    Strength Enthusiast Retardo-pex's Avatar
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    Pretty much anything they can handle using the most amount of muscle possible for each exercise. Things like 1/4 squats with dumbbells to a press, try to keep them on their feet for the most part, seated/bench exercises are great mass builders, but not exactly the primary concern at the moment.
    Current Bests (raw/singleply)

    Squat- 435 / 512.5
    Bench- 280 / 308.5
    Deadlift- 495/ 534

    Goals:

    - Squat 500, Bench 325, Deadlift 550 raw at 181-220.

    - Give the recreational bodybuilder thing a solid effort.
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  24. #24
    Registered User Luffers's Avatar
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    Well as it turned out the girl I was specifically asking questions about didn't even show up to the session but I have another client who is even more obese who I trained today using some of the advice in this thread.

    I started her out with a 5 min warm up on the bike to raise her heart rate in anticipation of the workout. I then had her and her husband(I train both at the same time as she feels more comfortable with him there) do a circuit which consisted of:-

    Swiss ball wall squats x 20
    Step ups x 30
    Wall/knee push ups x 20
    Barbell over head press x 20
    DB curl x 20

    Repeated 4 times.

    Then we went to the tricep pushdown for 3x15, lat pulldown for 3x15, and for a little bit of core strengthening, 3 sets of 20 on the cable woodchop.

    This took 60 mins and they enjoyed it a lot both saying it beats the hell out of the X-trainer for 40 mins!

    They're booked in with me for 1 hour per week (I pushed for 2 but its early days), she wants to drop 100 pounds so they will hopefully be clients for some time.

    The only thing I am struggling with is what to have her do for more core strengthening? After the first set of the wood chops she felt I slight muscle pull around her side, possibly erector spinae or lat?

    I usually recomend the plank and its variations or russian twists, given her size I don't think she will be able to do these?

    Any ideas?
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  25. #25
    Registered User Scaffer's Avatar
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    rubber bands are fun too,
    have to do body weight squat on a chair,deadlift with presses, those compounds movements while raise her HR pretty nicely and of course,if you have access to a private area at the gym,train her there and most of all,dont forget to congratulate her and give positive feedback everytime!
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  26. #26
    Registered User Luffers's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Scaffer View Post
    rubber bands are fun too,
    have to do body weight squat on a chair,deadlift with presses, those compounds movements while raise her HR pretty nicely and of course,if you have access to a private area at the gym,train her there and most of all,dont forget to congratulate her and give positive feedback everytime!
    Yep, that's what I did!

    The spin bike room was available so I set up the circuit in there, she'd already mentioned her embaressment at going to the gym so I wanted to make it as easy as possible on her.
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  27. #27
    Registered User BEhave's Avatar
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    Good thread

    bump
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  28. #28
    Registered User vanfreak's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BEhave View Post
    Good thread

    bump
    EXCELLENT AND TIMELY THREAD- I start with a husband and wife this week both obese and both determined to lose weight.I had a few ideas similar to ones posted here, but great info..
    My concern with the female is that she has a family history of heart disease[father had two major incidents before 55..major warning sign according to acsm] so I am going to have to stick to just cardio for her and very minimal weights.......
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  29. #29
    Registered User mama2boys2's Avatar
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    Great thread.

    I am also training a (semi) obese client. She is has VERY LITTLE confidence in the gym, and she is dealing with self doubt and depression. My biggest goal for her is to give her confidence and focus on building a fun and effective exercise routine that she can do and that makes her proud and happy with herself. I love that every time I comment on how good her form is or how well she did XX exercise, she gets so happy and is all, "really??" THAT right there is one of my main goals with her. Weight loss is a bonus, but helping her with confidence and her mood/attitude in the gym - and outside the gym- is huge right now.

    I have her doing a lot of body weight exercises, along with other basic exercises that have been mentioned. Even simple things like leg raises is good for her at this point.
    - step ups
    - squats w/ stability ball against wall
    - front and side leg raises
    - supermans

    I am also going to add in some cardio with her. 5-10 minutes of the bike or incline walking thrown in her weight routine. I don't generally put people on a machine - especially cardio - but I think it can be good to get their heart rate up. Especially for overweight people.. I cant have her doing burpees or jumping jacks at this point, so walking on the treadmill is good.

    Hope that helps a little
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